Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has a slight tear in his right knee, a probable cause of his sudden power loss, and the 14-time All-Star was expected to soon decide on the best course of action.
New York manager Joe Girardi revealed the injury before Saturday's game against Tampa Bay and said Rodriguez was out of the lineup. An MRI exam Friday showed a slight tear in the cartilage, and left A-Rod with two options: He could try to play through it, or have surgery and miss perhaps a month.
Girardi said he expected a decision would be announced Sunday. Rodriguez, who turns 36 later this month, has already pulled out of next week's All-Star game.
The three-time AL MVP is hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs this season. But the slugger with 626 career home runs has not connected since June 11 and has gone 85 at-bats without a homer, his longest single-season drought.
"I just don't think he has the drive in his back side that he needs to have," Girardi said. "He's not driving the ball."
Rodriguez tweaked his knee at Wrigley Field on June 19, and the tear in his meniscus has slowed him on the bases. He is batting .359 with 10 RBIs in his last 16 games, but has looked much more like a singles hitter than a power hitter.
"I think he's just fought through it," Girardi said.
A week ago at Citi Field, Rodriguez hit a high drive off the center-field wall against the Mets. As he walked out of the clubhouse after the game, he said, "I have no pop."
Girardi said it wasn't certain that Rodriguez would make the injury worse if he continues to play through it.
"You're not going to have him at 100 percent," said Girardi, who added, "I don't want to influence his decision."
Eduardo Nunez, who provided a spark while filling in recently for injured shortstop Derek Jeter, would likely take Rodriguez's place at third if he opts for surgery.
Rodriguez was elected by fans to start for the AL in the All-Star game Tuesday in Phoenix. Boston's Kevin Youkilis has replaced him on the roster.